Free 2016 Sun ‘n Fun app now available

The free 2016 SUN 'n FUN app is now available for iPhone and iPad.

The free 2016 SUN 'n FUN app is now available for iPhone and iPad.
The free 2016 SUN ‘n FUN app is now available for iPhone and iPad.

The 42nd Annual SUN ‘n FUN fly-in and aviation show kicks off next week in Lakeland, Florida. To help you navigate the airport grounds and keep track of all the events, the organizers again released an updated app for your iPhone, iPad and Android device. This includes a complete schedule, maps, food services and a digital radio feature to listen to the local ATC frequencies. Here’s a quick rundown of each feature:

SUN ‘n FUN Schedule – The complete daily schedule is included in the app, sorted by day of the week. You to quickly find details on seminars, workshops, airshows and evening events. You can “favorite” an event for quick sorting in the main menu, and click on an event to see the venue location right on the show grounds map.

Radio – This feature will be especially popular when at the show on your iPhone, since it allows you to listen to the local ATC frequencies in real time right in the app. Available channels include Lakeland ATIS, Lakeland Ground, Lakeland Tower and Tampa Approach. And as always it includes a live feed of the popular SUN ‘n FUN Radio broadcast.

The app allows you to quickly find seminars, food locations and exhibitors, and pinpoints their location on the map.
The app allows you to quickly find seminars, food locations and exhibitors, and pinpoints their location right on the map.

Exhibitor List – A complete exhibitor list is included, along with the ability to favorite the ones you want to make you don’t miss. Just like with events, tap on any of the companies to pinpoint their location on the show grounds.

Food Vendors – All the restaurants and food vendors are displayed in the app, allowing you to quickly find both the type and location of each offering.

Interactive Map – The geo-referenced map will show your exact location on the show grounds (you’ll need a GPS when using the iPad version), helping to ensure you don’t get lost trying to find your next event or meeting location. You can also enable points of interest overlays, to help find the locations of things like ATMs, First Aid, Restrooms and Tram Stops.

The SUN ‘n FUN app is available for iPhone and iPad now in the app store. A version will also be out soon for Android – check back here for the latest version in the Google Play store.

Source: Ipad appsFree 2016 Sun ‘n Fun app now available

Co-pilot: Hijacker Demanded To Fly Out Of Cyprus

The co-pilot of the EgyptAir Airbus that was hijacked on Tuesday was the last person to remain on board the A320 with the passenger who pretended to have an explosive belt and forced the crew to land in Cyprus. According to the account Hamad el Kaddah gave Newsweek, during the flight from Alexandria bound for Cairo, Seif el-Din Mustafa came out of a bathroom and told a flight attendant he had explosives.
Source: avwebCo-pilot: Hijacker Demanded To Fly Out Of Cyprus

Keeping a majestic dream alive

EPSON scanner image


My first time at the controls of an airplane was 53 years ago. I have been a licensed pilot for 45 years and I currently fly a U.S. military aircraft of World War II vintage. My wife, Mary, and I operate a private airport in Michigan’s Oakland County, which we have owned for the last 28 years. We call our property the Handleman Sky Ranch.

Like other private airports, ours is characterized by generally open spaces and low-intensity usage. Contrary to popular myth, private airports generally contribute to the preservation of our environment by being veritable green zones that act as buffers to relentless encroachment.

EPSON scanner image

At the Sky Ranch, we welcome first-time flyers. I have given many students their first plane rides. Representative of these young flyers, one went on to fly the vaunted U-2 spy plane at the pinnacle of an Air Force career. Another was motivated to overcome a disadvantaged background and pursue a fulfilling vocation as an airline pilot.

Yet, I have borne witness to the regrettable truth that light plane activity is only a fraction of what it used to be. Here are some grim facts:

  • The U.S. pilot population has dwindled. From a peak of well over 800,000 pilots in 1980, we now have less than 600,000, a drop of 28%.
  • The numbers for private pilots like me, who make up the bulk of private airport owners, are even worse. From that same starting point of 1980 to today, we’ve seen a gut-wrenching decline from more than 357,000 to less than 175,000, a whopping 51% falloff.
  • It gets worse yet. The number of student pilots plateaued at about 210,000 in 1979. Thirty years later, in 2009, the last year that the FAA used comparable data, there were only about 72,000 student pilots, a drastic reduction of 66%.
  • Not only are pilots disappearing, but so are their airplanes. Single-engine, piston-powered airplanes have shrunk in number by nearly 19% to less than 140,000 since 1984. In the next 20 years, the FAA expects the fleet to decrease by a further 14,000, or another 10%.

This bleak trend should be alarming to all who care about the preservation of America’s aerospace preeminence.

Our country’s continued leadership in air and space is not automatic. Our airline pilots, military aviators, and astronauts did not acquire their skills by some fluke, but had them nurtured through a mentoring process that started in many instances at small airstrips.

And that’s the point. The unheralded little airports that dot our nation’s landscape are the birthplace, the launch pad, the very foundation upon which America’s aerospace preeminence is built.

It is worth remembering that the first private airport was a cattle-grazing field lent to the Wright brothers by a Dayton banker. Today when you stand in the tall grasses of Huffman Prairie, you can peer into the airspace once occupied by the Wright Flyer and see glimmers of the rich legacy of the revolution that was sparked on that hallowed ground.

Replica 1904-05 hangar and launch catapult on Huffman Prairie Flying Field.

Replica 1904-05 hangar and launch catapult on Huffman Prairie Flying Field. (Photo by Timothy Gaffney).

The crucial phenomenon behind the making of America as the world’s leader in aerospace is the freedom we have to fly. If you want to and if you have the qualifications, you can. And, for many years, flyers could count on a viable network of small airports.

Our nation’s justifiably-exalted leadership in aerospace stems figuratively and literally from the grassroots of fields like mine. The extent to which policymakers ignore, dismiss, or delay the bolstering of these fundamental building blocks in what makes our aerospace success the envy of the world is the extent to which they would permit that position to erode and atrophy.

And unlike times in the past, the current factors — economic, regulatory, political, and cultural — acting on our airports threaten not temporary, but chronic malaise and decay.

Right now, the many challenges facing private airports make them an endangered species. Ever-rising costs for equipment, fuels, insurance, regulatory compliance, taxes, etc., represent a growing burden.

That magical place where I was introduced to the wonders of flight so long ago is gone. The quaint airport with its inviting grass runway that served as a portal to the heavens has given way to the vagaries of real estate development.

Nothing of the property’s past glories is left except memories of little boys who felt the exhilaration of soaring on wings into an enchanted kingdom that stretches to infinity and is governed not by the laws of men but by the higher laws of nature.

Though there is no means to bring back that special waypoint to worlds far away, we who today own small airports safeguard that spirit and pass it on to the current generation of young enthusiasts.

When I take boys and girls for their first airplane rides, they learn that the sky is vast, open, and free — and uniquely the province of dreamers. Through the act of reaching for the sky, they come to understand that the dream of flight is the dream that anything is possible.

They can be Clarence “Kelly” Johnson and create the next Skunk Works to design the airplanes of the future. They can be Suzanne Upjohn DeLano Parish and fly any airplane they want to regardless of their gender. They can be Harry Stewart and make their mark in the air by scoring multiple victories for freedom. Or they can be Jack Lousma and explore the far corners of the universe.

It’s important to support small airports in their quiet and often forgotten — but vital — mission to keep an intrinsically-hopeful and eminently-majestic dream alive.

Source: http://generalaviationnews.comKeeping a majestic dream alive

wx24 app makes METARs visual

wx24pilot feature

Improving pilot weather briefings has been a focus of aviation apps since the iPhone was first introduced. With the variety of sources and the often unreadable ALL CAP text formats, some good data visualization can have a powerful impact. The latest example of this trend is the wx24Pilot app, which aims to make text weather a thing of the past.

The app displays four main products in a single view: METAR, TAF, TFR and AIR/SIGMETs. Instead of the typical map view or text weather report list, wx24Pilot shows a large, colorful circle. In METAR view, you can get a quick feel for the weather. In the example below, Austin is reporting IFR conditions (hence the red circle), with 2 1/2 miles visibility in light rain and mist. There’s a 1000 ft. scattered cloud layer and a 1500 ft. overcast layer. The wind is 180 at 14 knots.

wx24pilot METAR

By tapping the airplane at the lower right corner, you can switch to TAF view. The same basic icons are used here, so you can understand the trend over the next 24 hours. Times are indicated (in either local or zulu) by the white arrows.

wx24pilot TAF

Finally, there’s a combined screen that shows multiple airport TAFs at the same time. This is helpful for comparing a destination and an alternate, or for understanding the weather picture for a larger area. It’s easy to see at a glance what the ceiling, visibility and wind will do over the next 24 hours.

wx24pilot multi airport taf

There’s also the option to set personal minimums in here, so you can quickly determine if weather conditions are below what you feel comfortable with.

Overall, we found this app to have some truly unique features. For understanding the big picture and the trends in weather conditions, it has real value. Having said that, it’s not the most intuitive app to use – accessing some information requires you to tap or swipe in ways that may not be initially clear. In addition, some of the symbols require study before you understand what they mean, which reduces the value of a “quick glance” app. The graphic below offers some good information for new users.

Pasted image at 2016_03_30 02_00 PM

Wx24Pilot is available for free in the App Store and includes three days of use; a one year subscription is $11.99. A video demo shows the app in action.

Source: Ipad appswx24 app makes METARs visual

Aviation Trail Spring Newsletter Posted

The Aviation Trail newsletter for Spring 2016 is now available on the website on the “Newsletters and Brochures” tab under the “Learn More” menu heading (CLICK HERE). The lead story reports on the honoring of the National Museum of the United States Air Force and the Air Force Museum Foundation with the upcoming 2016 Trailblazer Award.  Other stories feature the museum’s lineage to McCook Field, the new fourth building at the museum, plus items on the National Park Services celebration of 100
Source: aviation trailAviation Trail Spring Newsletter Posted

Wipaire Expands Manufacturing Facilities To Meet Demand

Now Sole Owner Of Building It Has Leased A Portion Of Since 2012 Wipaire, Inc. is expanding its manufacturing facilities. In a purchase deal closed in late February, Wipaire became the sole owner of the 65,000 square foot building it has leased a portion of since late 2012. Renovations will begin as soon as previous leaseholders move out of their leased spaces.
Source: aero newsWipaire Expands Manufacturing Facilities To Meet Demand

GAMA, EAA Hail Unleaded Avgas Transition Milestone

Associations Say Development Shows FAA Is Making Progress Towards Drop-In Replacement Fuel GAMA and EAA have noted the FAA’s announcement that it has selected two unleaded aviation fuels, developed by Shell and Swift Fuels, for Phase 2 full-scale testing in engines and aircraft. The selection is based on the least impact to the existing fleet following the results of rigorous Phase 1 laboratory and rig testing of fuel properties and compatibility with aircraft materials and components, as well as an assessment of predicted costs and environmental factors.
Source: aero newsGAMA, EAA Hail Unleaded Avgas Transition Milestone